A confession. A couple of weeks ago I was lucky enough to be the wedding photographer covering the wedding of Mel and Lee at the stunning Palacete de Cazulas in Otivar, Spain. I travelled alone, without Anna or Ellie. But on the very first night away from my wife, I had a bird in my bedroom.
Well I think it was a bird, but it could have been a bat.
Let’s backtrack a little. I’m not going to get into the story of Mel and Lee’s wedding yet because I want to save that for their own blog post in due course. But I thought this incident deserved its own little corner of my blog.
A couple of Mondays ago Anna and Ellie dropped me off at East Midlands airport with, frankly, a ridiculous amount of luggage for two nights away. Anna does not travel lightly, but I had easily outdone even her best efforts at over-packing, ladened as I was with the backpack section of my Lowepro rollerbag coupled with an enormous suitcase. To be fair, I had a lot of photography equipment to take with me. I managed to pack two camera bodies, half a dozen lenses, three speedlight flashes, spare batteries, two lightstands, a softbox and a range of other accessories. Not quite the full arsenal that I take to British weddings, but a fair bit more than even the most photographically eager tourist. I stood alone on the pavement and looked around in vain for a sherpa or maybe a cheeky cockney barrow-boy who might assist me with my luggage, before giving up and lugging the cases along to the departures gate.
My flight was with Jet2, and I have to say they were brilliant from start to finish. Their staff were welcoming, friendly and helpful, and the plane was comfortable. A fine selection of Kit-Kats and Pringles were available onboard. David Cameron would have approved.
I arrived at Malaga airport and Mel found me quickly, which was just as well as Lee was parked illegally outside. They’d had an interesting 90 minute journey down from the wedding mansion, managing to miss their exit off the motorway. The next exit they took led them straight to a toll booth. Agonisingly, a mere twenty yards the other side of the barrier was a roundabout which would let them turn around and rejoin the motorway in the right direction. The toll was about £5. Lee reluctantly coughed up. He drove the twenty yards and went round the roundabout. And back to another toll booth. Another £5. Possibly the most expensive journey in terms of £ per metre travelled that either of them had ever taken.
Obligatory iPhone selfie
After some careful navigation we eventually arrived at the mansion and Mel gave me a tour of the magnificent grounds and the house whilst Lee put some food on the barbeque for us. Mel showed me my bedroom for the two nights that I’d be staying with them. It was located in the tower of the house, slightly separate from the rest of the rooms – a lovely room with windows on three sides. It was a little cooler than some other parts of the house, but still very warm. Mel assured me that no-one had reported any problems with mosquitoes so it was perfectly safe to leave my windows open at night. Everyone else did.
We went back downstairs and I was duly handed a hotdog and a beer and then introduced to the rest of the guests who were staying. We sat out on the poolside veranda in the warm evening air, high in the mountains, overlooking a deep valley with a village and all its twinkling lights visible on the opposite side. Perfect.
After an hour or so I decided that it was time for bed. The following day was the wedding and it was going to be busy. I said my goodnights and managed to find my way back up the tower and into my room. It was still warm, but light was spilling in through two of my windows so I closed the shutters. The third one I left open, safe in the knowledge that the local mosquitoes were not planning a midnight feast tonight.
I slept pretty well despite the heat. I do remember hearing a bird flutter outside of my window at some point, but it didn’t wake me fully and I drifted back off. Then at around five a.m. a very small man on a very small motorbike began performing the wall of death in circles around my head. At least that’s how it sounded.
It was a lone mosquito who had apparently not received the group memo regarding their strike action. I swatted it away a couple of times, and finally decided that I’d better close the third window in case any more mosquitos wanted to join the party. Reluctantly I climbed out of bed, fumbled my way in the dark to the window and closed the righthand shutter. An explosion of wings erupted in my face and a black shadow flew into the bedroom. I was startled and nearly fell backwards out of the window in fright. The shape flew around the room and then seemed to land on the bed frame. I have no idea why I didn’t switch a light on, but I didn’t. Instead I stumbled around in the near darkness, only illuminated by the moonlight from the half closed third window, waving my arms, tripping over my bags and banging my knee on a chest of drawers. I swore at the bird and at the chest of drawers. The bird must have heard because it flew straight for my head in vengeance. I ducked and it did a couple of high speed laps of the ceiling whilst I prised open the shutters on the windows and prayed. Fortunately it eventually disappeared out of one of the openings and I was able to close up ALL three windows and finally switch the light on to check whether my bed or anything else had been the recipient of bird pooh. All clear.
My heart rate slowly began to return to normal, and I flicked off the light switch and collapsed back on to the bed. I’m not sure who had been more startled when I closed the shutter; me or the bird.
The next day was absolutely brilliant, and I’m going to share a few of the photos from it below. But the following night I made sure that all three windows were closed when I climbed into bed.
Here’s a sneaky peek at Mel and Lee’s wedding. There’s lots and lots more to come!